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Thread: Driving in Japan

  1. #26
    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    one point that you are not recognizing gaijinpunch, is that mr. cash does this everyday. every single day. if i ever wanted info on driving here he would be the first person i would want advice from.
    ooo~

  2. #27
    Regular Member TheKansaiKid's Avatar
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    I drove in Japan quite a bit while I lived there. I had a car the whole 4 years and used it quite extensively. (though obviously not as much as a pro truck driver) I found several very common habits that I found particularly annoying. Going through red lights is such a common occurance that I've seen guys do it right in front of a cop with no qualms about it, and stop signs are often treated as slow slightly signs. The following distance on the expressways are WAY too close. It is very scary to look up in the rearview mirror to see truck headlights so close you think the truck is in the back seat.

    However I made it through the 4 years without a single accident. Most of my driving was in rural Japan mainly Nara-ken but I often drove in Osaka and made 2 trips to Tokyo. The original post was "wondering if he should rent a car" and I think if you are interested in getting off the beaten trail it can be very rewarding, and if you can drive in London you will probably survive it in Japan... but make sure you get the insurance

  3. #28
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duff_o_josh
    one point that you are not recognizing gaijinpunch
    I'm fully aware of that... which is why I didn't question in it.

    if i ever wanted info on driving here he would be the first person i would want advice from.
    In this case you'd be getting a pretty biased report.

  4. #29
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Biased, but informed.

  5. #30
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    well, I don't particularly think that drivers in Japan are that safe. I mean they put stickers on new/elderly drivers cars so that they have less responsability and more on you to be "aware" of those drivers and what they "might" do! Also, taxi drivers and buses have the right of way no matter what! Taxis can may an illegal U turn or drive at incredibly slow paces to try and drum up business from people who are not even trying to hail cabs! IMHO Taxis in Japan are the least safe drivers on the road.

  6. #31
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    Biased, but informed.
    I don't see how my opinion is uninformed...especially considering the person asking seems to have never been.

    As a systems engineer I would tell you that Windows is a gigantic turd. Poor architecture and design, filled with holes, expensive, and overall unpleasant. I might even say it's a bollocks OS. As much as I hate to admit it, that does not make it fact... only my interpretation after using it (and the competition). Or perhaps I should say informed.

    I mean they put stickers on new/elderly drivers cars
    Sounds like another country I know of.

    IMHO Taxis in Japan are the least safe drivers on the road.
    Well, I don't disagree with you. Before blaming them though I would blame a system that requires them to work 24 hour shifts with minimal break. All things considered, I think they're pretty skilled given the stress of their job. In their defense... I've sat in many sedated taxis. I prefer the reckless ones. I'd also like to see a source on that U-turn claim. Sounds fishy, obviously.

    Final Thought: If the population of the city you're from barely hits 6-digits, you'll probably not like the driving scene in Japan (Tokyo specifically). If you're from another big city, you should do fine.

  7. #32
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaijinPunch
    I don't see how my opinion is uninformed...especially considering the person asking seems to have never been.
    I didn't say your opinion is uninformed. For that matter, I don't see how my opinion is biased, but I didn't feel like arguing about it.

    Well, I don't disagree with you. Before blaming them though I would blame a system that requires them to work 24 hour shifts with minimal break. All things considered, I think they're pretty skilled given the stress of their job. In their defense... I've sat in many sedated taxis. I prefer the reckless ones. I'd also like to see a source on that U-turn claim. Sounds fishy, obviously.
    List me as a source, if you like. I prefer those to the ones like I encountered the other day in Naka-Meguro who decided he would make a right turn from the left turn lane. The taxi was radio #1873 of Nihon Koutsuu.

    Final Thought: If the population of the city you're from barely hits 6-digits, you'll probably not like the driving scene in Japan (Tokyo specifically). If you're from another big city, you should do fine.
    Not necessarily. Often when I see a car driving cluelessly and seemingly befuddled in Tokyo I take a look at the license plate and say to myself, "Yep. Yokohama tags."

  8. #33
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    I didn't say your opinion is uninformed. For that matter, I don't see how my opinion is biased
    Sorry then. Just sounded that way. I think by default your opinion on traffic would be biased though. I think anything someone does daily, especially for a job, has an impact on how they see things.

    Naka-Meguro who decided he would make a right turn from the left turn lane. The taxi was radio #1873 of Nihon Koutsuu.
    Not necessarily. Often when I see a car driving cluelessly and seemingly befuddled in Tokyo I take a look at the license plate and say to myself, "Yep. Yokohama tags."
    Well indeed every population is going to have some seriously clueless people. I guess some people are luckier than others when it comes to how often they encounter them.

  9. #34
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaijinPunch
    Sorry then. Just sounded that way. I think by default your opinion on traffic would be biased though. I think anything someone does daily, especially for a job, has an impact on how they see things.
    Imagine for a moment a discussion of the various flavors of Windows. Imagine that one fellow pipes up and says, "I've never used Windows myself, but I've been in the room when other people were using it, and I think 3.1 is a jim dandy operating system." And another fellow says, "I've used 3.1, 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. 3.1 sucks".

    Would his opinion be biased? Or just better informed?

    Saying that someone's opinion is "biased" gives the impression that the opinion is either based on a misunderstanding of actual facts or, more likely, dishonestly presented in a manner inconsistent with actual facts.

  10. #35
    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    well, I don't particularly think that drivers in Japan are that safe. I mean they put stickers on new/elderly drivers cars so that they have less responsability and more on you to be "aware" of those drivers and what they "might" do! Also, taxi drivers and buses have the right of way no matter what! Taxis can may an illegal U turn or drive at incredibly slow paces to try and drum up business from people who are not even trying to hail cabs! IMHO Taxis in Japan are the least safe drivers on the road.
    japan isnt the only place where new drivers have to have somesort of sticker on there car. in british columbia canada, new drivers have to have a huge green "n" sign on their vehichle. one thing i find a little dangerous about japanese drivers is the curtiousy to turn off their headlights at intersections, but not all remember to turn them back on, thats a bit scary when crossing the road.

  11. #36
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duff_o_josh
    japan isnt the only place where new drivers have to have somesort of sticker on there car. in british columbia canada, new drivers have to have a huge green "n" sign on their vehichle. one thing i find a little dangerous about japanese drivers is the curtiousy to turn off their headlights at intersections, but not all remember to turn them back on, thats a bit scary when crossing the road.

    Well, coming from the US, this was new to me...also, they are not held as liable in an accident as you would be...even if they hit you. You (being an experienced driver) should not have been in the area at the time of impact seems to be the train of thought here! Basically, because they have that little sticker, I am supposed to read their freakin' mind and know that they are gonna change lanes without a signal and sideswipe my car in my blind spot! But no worries here, I stay away from the new drivers and the elderly ones too! Those damn taxi's and the driving school cars get on my nerves the most though!

  12. #37
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    The stickers for the new drivers are mandatory for the first year. The stickers for the elderly drivers are optional.

  13. #38
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    Saying that someone's opinion is "biased" gives the impression that the opinion is either based on a misunderstanding of actual facts or
    Doesn't a biased opinion just mean leaning one way or the other... regardless of what that opinion is based on?

    I'd have to disagree with both Windows users... Calling me tainted is an understatement, so perhaps that was a bad analogy. Perhaps if I spent all day in trafffic, I'd have a different view of that as well.

  14. #39
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    In what way does my opinion lean? Away from an accurate representation of the actual circumstances, I mean.

    Today's taxi-drivers-have-l33t-skillz balloon burster:

    I was sitting at a red light on Yamate-dori in Shinjuku today. Next to me were two taxis. The one in the front was driven by Mr. Magoo. Traffic cleared out a little bit on the other side of the light and Mr. Magoo takes off. The taxi behind him took off behind him.

    Only problem was....the light didn't change from red to green until about 10 seconds after they were both gone.
    Last edited by Mike Cash; Jun 7, 2005 at 21:36. Reason: speling eror

  15. #40
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    Doing something all day every day will taint anyone's opinion on anything, no? That's all I was getting at.

  16. #41
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Doing something all day every day will certainly affect anyone's opinion on anything, I agree. As to whether it will taint it or not......

  17. #42
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    Touche'
    --------

  18. #43
    Tokyo Kurt
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    I would strongly recommend to not hire a car here unless you have experienced life in Japan before. The streets are excessively narrow, full of non-vehicle traffic (and things), parked cars, obstructed line of sight, cars parked in the middle of intersections, across pedestrian crosswalks, etc.

    The only thing that keeps the whole system from falling apart is strong adherence to driving protocol and driver-driver communication. If you aren't aware of this protocol, that sounds like an 'accident waiting to happen.'

    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    Excuse me, but that's the biggest load of bollocks I have ever heard. And I like to think I am in a position to know.

    I have to agree with the original reply to the Post. I drive several times a week. In Japan, people ALWAYS signal, are generally very attentive, and there is hardly ever any doubt about what another vehicle will do. Whether or not this predicted behavior is what you would do, or what you would like them to do, is another matter.
    Partly for this reason, perhaps, a bystander may think it looks like chaos.



    I personally find it extremely frustrating to drive in Japan, but I rarely feel like an accident is about to happen.

    I hardly ever am surprised and in all these years of driving in Japan, I've never had to slam on my brakes.

    Part of this is knowing which drivers are going to be defensive and which are going to be aggressive. This is also highly predictable.

    Now, I would agree with you on the parking habits of Japanese. This area is absolutely pathetic.

    Also, if you live in Kansai, people probably are a lot more aggressive in their driving habits.

  19. #44
    Johansson Revenant's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend driving in Japan. The rental cars themselves are expensive, and the subway in the big cities is reasonable and covers most of the city pretty well.

    I live in what Japanese would call the countryside (600 000 people), and the narrow lanes, with some cars speeding past you coming from the opposite direction, as well as blind corners, and confusing roads (a lot of them don't follow any sort of north-south, east west pattern), all made me just nervous when I first started driving here.

    They also have these streets that are one-way, and all the locals know where to wait, and when they can go. A non-local will just forge ahead, and it can be a headache getting around others on a narrow street as such.

  20. #45
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khammo01
    The only thing that keeps the whole system from falling apart is strong adherence to driving protocol and driver-driver communication.
    Are you suggesting that Japanese drivers tend to be sticklers for driving protocol and driver-driver communication? If so, that's hilarious.



    I have to agree with the original reply to the Post. I drive several times a week. In Japan, people ALWAYS signal, are generally very attentive,
    More hilarity.

    and there is hardly ever any doubt about what another vehicle will do. Whether or not this predicted behavior is what you would do, or what you would like them to do, is another matter.
    Good point. Always assume that the other person will do the stupidest, rudest, most dangerous thing possible and you'll avoid most accidents. (And that advice goes for driving anywhere, not just Japan).

    I personally find it extremely frustrating to drive in Japan, but I rarely feel like an accident is about to happen.
    What's that old expression?...."If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you probably don't know what the hell is going on" or something like that.

    I hardly ever am surprised and in all these years of driving in Japan, I've never had to slam on my brakes.
    Maybe you don't get out and drive enough.

    Part of this is knowing which drivers are going to be defensive and which are going to be aggressive. This is also highly predictable.

    Now, I would agree with you on the parking habits of Japanese. This area is absolutely pathetic.

    Also, if you live in Kansai, people probably are a lot more aggressive in their driving habits.
    Those last three paragraphs are full of good points. Particularly the last one. Kansai drivers make Tokyo drivers look solicitous by comparison.

  21. #46
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    More hilarity.
    Come to Hawaii. Less traffic, more space, yet they still seem to smack into pedestrians on a regular.

  22. #47
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Some pedestrians just seem to really need a good smacking, doncha think?

  23. #48
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    is gaijinpunch a fighting style or a drink?

  24. #49
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    Some pedestrians just seem to really need a good smacking, doncha think?
    There is indeed a lot of truth to that.

    is gaijinpunch a fighting style or a drink?
    It is neither. It's just a name I came up with. I was frequenting the game centers back in my younger chain smoking days when Virtua Fighter 4 came out, and they had the cards which stored your name and displayed it on-screen while you fought. I was clearly a gaijin, and it was a fighting game so I went with 'punch'. After that, it just stuck.

  25. #50
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    3 Japanese (on the sidewalk) were hit by a car in Waikiki this last week my wife tells me. :/

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